What to do on International Women’s Day 2016

Lucy Stewart gives a quick run down of all the International Women’s Day events going on around Bristol.

Tuesday 8th March marks International Women’s Day 2016: a day to celebrate and learn about women around the world, but also to acknowledge the hardships women worldwide face daily and learn what we can do to support, help, and advance the status of women everywhere.

In order to prove to the skeptics (read misogynists) the relevance and importance of International Women’s Day in 2016, The Independent published an article of ‘8 charts that show why life is still harder and more dangerous for women’ and the statistics shock. More than a third of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Almost two thirds of illiterate adults are women, something which has remained unchanged for two decades. In the private sector, fewer than four per cent of CEOs leading the world’s 500 major corporations are women.

A bit closer to home, NUS statistics show that two in three women at university have experienced some form of harassment in and around their institution and one in seven have experienced serious physical or sexual assault during their time as a student.

If these statistics show anything, it’s that we have not yet reached a point of equality, in this country or worldwide. Days like International Women’s Day are essential in order for us to continue to promote and celebrate women.

So, if you are interested in learning more about the plight of women, getting involved and meeting like-minded people, or just having some feminist-based fun, here is a selection of events around the university and the city itself to keep you entertained this week.

International Women's Day pic

Bristol Women’s Voice

When: Saturday 12th March, 11am-5pm
Where: Bristol’s M Shed

Bristol Women’s Voice is presenting a day of free activities, workshops, speakers and music around the theme of ‘Women Making A Difference.’ In their own words, the event is a day for women to ‘come together and celebrate the many ways in which they make a difference in our lives here in Bristol, as well as the difference they make in our communities and further afield across the globe.’

Bristol Women’s Voice is focusing on praising women, rather than mourning their position in society. If you feel like being uplifted rather than left dismayed, head to the M Shed for a whole host of events that will inspire you to make a difference yourself.

Highlights include a workshop hosted by African Voices Forum for ‘Women’s Empowerment: Supporting Black, Asian, Minority and Ethnic (BAME) Communities to Recognise Strong Role Models’ and ‘Refugee Women of Bristol Dance,’ where Sudanese and Somali women will be presenting traditional dances and providing the opportunity to join in (please note this is a women only event). There will also be speakers and workshops on topics ranging from young people to mental health – an incredibly broad and inspiring schedule!

Check out the full list of scheduled events and speakers here.

There will be a free crèche provided on the day as well as free transport to collect and take home groups of women from across the city. For more details on this, and the other services that Bristol Women’s Voice is offering, make sure you have a look at their website.

One25 International Women’s Day Fundraiser

When: Tuesday 8th March, 7pm-11pm
Where: Falafel King, Cotham Hill

This International Women’s Day there are many events across the university and Bristol in general in connection with One25. It’s an incredible charity to help and get involved with; One25’s mission is to reach out to women trapped in, or vulnerable to, street sex work, supporting them to ‘break free and build new lives away from violence, poverty and addiction.’ The Bristol-based charity was founded in 1995 and is the only organisation specifically supporting street sex-working women.

One25 have stated that their vision is ‘to make March 2016 one huge, exciting month of live shows happening all round Bristol, to raise money and awareness for Bristol’s most vulnerable women around International Women’s Day’. They certainly are not disappointing.

Their event listings are inexhaustible so for anything missed here, check out the full schedule of their events.

This fundraiser is just one example, but in the words of one of the TWSS editorial team, it is essentially ‘feminism and falafel’ – and what could be better. Head to Falafel King on Cotham Hill for some incredible spoken word artists all talking on the topic of women. Tickets are £5 with all proceeds going to One25. The full event can be found here.

One25 – An Extravaganza

When: Sunday 13th March, 4pm – 8.30pm
Where: The Canteen

Another One25 event, this time at a different favourite Bristol venue, The Canteen. The event promises four female fronted bands, face painting, a magician, a raffle and ‘so much more’ and, even better, it’s free (but they do encourage donations). To see the full line up, look on their Facebook event here.

DramSoc & One25 Presents: WOW Cabaret

When: Monday 7th March, 7pm
Where: The Wardrobe Theatre

A event hosted by Bristol University’s very own DramSoc, the WOW (Women of Wonder) Cabaret promises an event ‘celebrating the achievements of women in the performing arts’ and showcases some of the most talented women at the University of Bristol, from monologues and poems to songs.

Again, all money raised from the event will go to One25, so not only will it be a fun and inspiring event, it’s also helping women around Bristol. And there are home-baked cakes for sale… the Facebook event is here.

Unconscious Bias: Why are women under-represented in engineering?

When: Tuesday 8th March, 5pm-6.30pm
Where: LT2 Chemistry Building, University of Bristol
Tickets here (tickets are free for members of the Women in Engineering society, and prices range for students and the public).

For something a little bit different, head to the chemistry building for a ‘short, sharp exploration of unconscious bias and the engineering sector.’ Women in Engineering have teamed up with plenty of other societies at the university, including Women in Science, Computer Science Society and the Bristol Feminist Society to question the gender inequality in engineering. For their Facebook event, head here.

Hopefully one of these incredible events will tickle your fancy and offer something for everyone when it comes to celebrating International Women’s Day. However, even if you can’t make any of these events, remember the things that go on in Bristol all the time to celebrate women, help them, or educate everyone else.

For some ideas, check out the inspirational work being done by the newly created Bristol Survivors’ Network or Gal-dem magazine, a creative online magazine run women in colour, including many women from our very own Bristol University.

Illustration by Mairead Finlay

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